India and Pakistan held a new round of joint anti-terrorism meetings in Islamabad on June 24. The public believes the meeting symbolizes another step towards political mutual trust and is conducive to maintaining stability in South Asia.
This is the third meeting since the joint anti-terrorism mechanism between India and Pakistan was set up. In September 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf decided to set up the joint anti-terrorism mechanism in Havana, Cuba during the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement leaders. They said terrorism is their common enemy. Only by joining hands can they maintain stability and coexist in harmony.
In March 2007, the first meeting of the joint anti-terrorism mechanism was held in Islamabad in a harmonious atmosphere. Both sides agreed to set up the mechanism against terrorist threats; and they discussed how to crackdown on terrorism and exchange information. In October, the second meeting was held in New Delhi, during which both countries consolidated measures for a joint crackdown on terrorism.
India and Pakistan will send delegations headed by vice foreign ministers to attend the upcoming meeting. They will discuss concrete issues in cooperation against terrorism and exchange information about terrorist activities in their own territories. The public appears to appreciate the dialogue that continues between the two countries even if there is no substantial outcome.
Objectively speaking, the establishment of a joint anti-terrorism mechanism is an important symbol of peaceful co-existence. In the past, each country would criticize the other without hesitation when a terrorist attack occurred in the country. Now, the two countries are gradually reaching a consensus on combating terrorism. They no longer blame each other; instead they share information and take action together. This is big progress in political mutual trust. The pragmatic and flexible attitudes towards finding solutions to problems haunting bilateral relations give a sign of hope.
The efforts to seek conciliation through dialogue since 2004 have seen effect. In May, the frontier troops exchanged fire fiercely, causing tension again at the India-Pakistan border. But the two countries soon convened an emergency meeting and settled the conflict appropriately. The great patience and constraint they have shown indicates they have a deeper understanding of the significance of peaceful coexistence.
This year, dialogue will still remain the mainstream in India-Pakistan relations. In April, the dialogue pushed ahead with the stagnant Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and the project will resume in 2009. In May, India's Foreign Minster visited Islamabad to resume dialogue at the ministerial level. After this meeting, Pakistan's Foreign Minister will visit New Delhi again. This year, Indian Prime Minister Singh plans to visit Pakistan and the preparations are currently underway.
The efforts for peace once again prove that dialogue is the sole path to resolving differences between counties. India and Pakistan' steps on this road are not big yet; but they are moving, in a positive direction.
By People's Daily Online